India and its geopolitical significance for Indian Energy Sector


India and its geopolitical significance for Indian Energy Sector


Trade from the ancient Indus civilization, which appeared around 3,000 B.C., stretched from India to Syria. The Indus people imported raw materials like lapis lazuli from Afghanistan; clam and conch shells from the Arabian Sea; timber from the Himalayas; silver, jade, and gold from Central Asia; and tin, copper, and green amozite, perhaps from Rajasthan or the Gujarat area of India.

The ancient Egyptians obtained goods from India and China. A strand of silk has been found on a 3000-year-old Egyptian mummy. This astonishing discovery provides evidence of trade between ancient China and the Mediterranean 1,800 years before Marco Polo traveled the famed Silk Road.

Many of the animals that we think of existing only in sub-Saharan Africa—like antelopes, hyenas, and lions—were found in Mesopotamia and India 4000 years ago. Tigers roamed Iran and cheetahs were found in India until a few hundred years ago.

Ur (five miles near Nasiriyah, Iraq, near the town of Muqaiyir)) was a great Mesopotamian city and the traditional birthplace of Abraham, the patriarch of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  Seafaring voyages may have taken place as early as 3500 B.C. Mesopotamians traveled across the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea between Persia and India.

Based on artifacts found at its archaeological site it was involved in trade with Mesopotamia, Iran, Arabia, Afghanistan, and the Indus Valley. Objects from the Indus Valley found at Magan sites in Oman include three-sided prism seals and Indus Valley pottery.

Silk from India or China has been found in Egyptian mummies. Scientists examining the hair of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy found a strand of silk. This astonishing discovery provides evidence not only of the existence of silk in ancient Egypt but also of trade between ancient China or India and the Mediterranean 1,800 years before Marco Polo traveled the famed Silk Road.

How Indian Energy Sector is Evolving

Preface: Our article about The India Story highlights the centrality of India and its geopolitical significance for the Indian Energy Sector from very ancient times onwards, via the history of India, along with its significance in Trade Business, and technology.

Present-day India is still coming out of the Yolk of British / Western imperialism with a 1.4 billion population, a 3 trillion Dollar GDP, and a very large consumption basket we are still at a poor (per capita income of less than US$ 1800/- per person), and have a long way to go to enrich our population whilst taking care of the Environment Earth and Global Warming.

Whilst our previous Generations enjoyed the Coal and Petroleum fuelled growth in economy and wealth (in fact they continue to do so), it’s well known that Petroleum fuel is finite and may not last beyond this century, it also has a devastating effect on our environment, the impact is so bad that earth may not remain conducive enough for survival of humankind and the Human race.

With the intent of safeguarding the Earth and its environment, new Technologies for energy generation and its usage known as renewables which are supposedly less polluting than their predecessors are being introduced and are expected to help control the Carbon emission and help in controlling the impact of Pollution as well improvise the Climate change.

The Electrical Vehicle is one such instrument that is expected to bring down tailpipe emissions to zero (though the power network supporting such infrastructure still would require to move over from coal/fuel-based power generation over to Hydro, Solar, and Wind-based Power production to provide the Genuine reduction of Carbon footprint. The Tailpipe Emission in a Pure Electric Vehicle is zero.

India China and the Electrical Vehicle Revolution: Whilst India and China have similar demographics, and were virtually at the same stage of development till the 1990s, China has grown with leaps and bounds in technology, Manufacturing, and new technology development, and it reflects in the new found muscle of being the Manufacturing hub of the entire world. It’s fuelled by strategic growth with an absolute focus on Manufacturing leading an export-driven economy.

Under the new Geopolitical dispensation, China has left India far behind in the Technological field of Manufacturing. We will take the single case of the automobile (two-wheelers) which has two distinct verticals ie: ICE ie Internal Combustion Engine and Electrical Vehicle.

India is a large manufacturer of ICE Vehicles in the 2-wheeler category India has the largest company on earth as far as ICE vehicle manufacturing in the two-wheel category (especially bikes) is concerned, we are nowhere near China in the EV category.

Critical Resources (The China domination): Unlike ICE vehicles which require only Iron steel Aluminium and copper for manufacturing, Electrical Vehicle powered vehicles require rare earth metals like Lithium, Neodymium, Nickel, and a variety of other materials utilized in Batteries as well as Motor and electronic component manufacturing. These Rare earths are found in very limited zones across the earth and India isn’t very rich in these minerals (except for some finds in Northern India for Lithium).

 These materials require a large infrastructure for processing as well, and this capacity is exclusively owned by China to date The Chinese government has gone to the extent of conducting exclusive procurement contracts with such countries so that China’s supply chain remains intact and they gain a strong upper edge in manufacturing of these components in Electrical Vehicles and also have the largest and most optimum base of components for electric vehicles.

Low-Hanging Fruit: The core commonality between and ICE vehicle and Electrical Vehicle is as follows, The common parts

Basic Body, Chassis, handle Seats, Wheel, Light, Tyres, breaks, Indicators, Horns, footrests, etc. are components that India makes in bulk as we add more than 2 million registered ICE 2-wheelers in petrol and bike segments.

India can utilize this advantage on EV two-wheelers as the remaining items are limited to the battery and Motor plus Controller which we do not have significant control over manufacturing within India.

A mixed-mode approach with a strong focus on Re-engineering will help Indian Manufacturers reach the goal of a truly Built India, Made in India electrical Vehicle.

India can probably start with positioning these components on a vehicle or maybe the government can take an approach similar to tires (foreign tires aren’t allowed and are banned in India), any type of vehicle has to necessarily take Indian tires for their vehicles, a similar approach can be adopted for parts and components that are already being manufactured in bulk within India.

This can give a fillip at least to the parts of the industry with a quicker adoption of such vehicle components by Indian Manufacturers of Electrical Vehicles.

Deep dive in Core engineering: Electrical Vehicles is a new field of engagement for India though the technology is more than 100 plus years old, however, its efficiency has been increased due to discoveries in battery and energy storage with new materials (lithium-based) as well as development in the field of electronics especially 

India requires the following capacities and technology to fulfill its demand as well as to cater to export demand

  1. Chip Fabricator
  2. Lithium or Alternate battery cell manufacturing technology like Na+ or Aluminium air batteries

Whilst a lot is being done in both the field as mentioned above, India is yet to see a strong local player who has been able to build either an Electronics Chip fabricator, its as if we are virtually fighting a War of Independence in terms of being self-sufficient in this field of technology along with Cell manufacturing not only in the field of Lithium but also in the field of Sodium and other such material-based cell manufacturing.

Unless and until India does not strongly lead in the above-mentioned area of engagement, we will continue to be dependent on our neighbor who isn’t positively inclined towards us for our economic self-reliance and economic independence.

The Final Goal: India is reaping a population or Manpower dividend i.e. 60 % workforce is in their early 20s which is the beginning of the ideal working age, this also puts a significant load on our economy to provide for meaningful and beneficial economic activities to keep this huge population engaged in positive vocations which are financially beneficial and generate significant rewards for this population.

A focused approach on Made in India which genuinely brings these products within the Indian manufacturing ambit will allow us to become the famed 5 trillion-dollar economy and push our masses to a much better lifestyle and increased income levels. This is a significant time of history and we cannot afford to miss out on this global opportunity this time, whilst India has seen significant growth in the IT field, we are all but a glorified manpower provider with hardly a single product company like Microsoft, Google or Facebook Apple, etc.

In the field of Automobiles India does have some significant products company and India should not lose this identity in the Electrical Vehicle field to either China or USA. Lack of genuine innovation is stopping us from trying to reach this level of technological self-reliance both in government as well as the private sector. India needs to target homegrown technology for deployment, though we will have a foreign hand we need to ensure that friendly ones which ensure long terms supply chain is maintained without disrupting the whole network or business.

It’s time for India to go for the “Amrit Kaal” or a golden period and we should not leave a single stone unturned to achieve the same.

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